Weigh-in: Paper Plates

flickr.com/photos/gaylon/

flickr.com/photos/gaylon/

At today’s Weight Watchers meeting I weighed in and was met with a loss of 2.0 lbs. Right on! I just have to keep on keepin’ on, know what I mean? I’ve long known that persistence is the true challenge in this endeavor.

During the meeting we all wrote what we plan to eat for Thanksgiving dinner on paper plates (with stickers on them, no less) and then added up the Points in the food and talked about the importance of being prepared for holiday foodfests. (On a related note, I’ve made up my mind to forgo indulging much at work-related functions and plan to enjoy a bit more seasonal cuisine at the two big family holiday dinners: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those represent the spirit—and tastiness—of the season much more to me than an ordered-in buffet served out of vat-like containers, or a big mess of store-bought cookies.)

As far as my weekend goals are concerned, I’ve hit three out of four: moved some more of my stuff out of the storage unit, weighed in, and . . . joined a gym! The last one is the most exciting :). I worked out by walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes today, which may not be much but is definitely a start.

What I didn’t accomplish this weekend: Buying a simple cookbook full of healthy meals. This was not for lack of trying, because I spent a good hour in Borders sitting in a chair and flipping through a big pile of cookbooks. I kept being torn between the “light” cookbooks and the introductory/beginner’s cookbooks like How to Boil Water, which doesn’t include calorie counts with its recipes but does provide a good foundation of general cooking knowledge. After a while, my head started to spin so I decided to sleep on it all for a night or two!

General summary of how I felt this past week:

I’m not going to lie: it was a rough one, emotionally, when it came to my eating plan. On the outside, things were reasonably low-stress in my life, but I had a lot of inner turmoil regarding the food choices I’m making and the plan (Weight Watchers Flex Plan) that I’m following. I have found myself gravitating more to the “easy,” more processed food choices that my sweet tooth wants (Fiber One Oats & Chocolate bars) as opposed to the more wholesome options (celery with nut butter, or hummus on a whole-wheat pita).

In a way, the more processed foods, like the grab-and-go bars, are the “paper plates” of food, and the foods that take a little more thought for me or a bit of preparation are the “good china.” This is a war I’m waging in my head and in my body, and unless you have spent time truly addicted to sugary, processed foods, you cannot understand how painful it is sometimes. You just can’t. The mental battle takes a major emotional toll, as well as a physical one. It even affects your relationships at times. A feeling of dis-ease takes over. You don’t feel “right.” You are used to your paper plates. You are feeling vulnerable and tired, on top of all that. It ain’t easy, chickens.

Last week I discussed my pity pizza-fest, and Dr. J from CalorieLab offered this take on things:

I’m going to give you some real advice, OK? Learn to make your own healthier version of a pizza. No it’s not store bought, but it will get you past those times when you are weak. Occasionally get the store bought. Over time, you will enjoy and be satisfied by what you make. Trust me, you need to diminish your dependence on fat, sugar and salt or you will not pull this weight loss thing off, nor sustain it. Very few people are successful at weight loss and there are reasons for it, that if you do not deal with, you will not make it either. That’s the way it is. I’m sorry. I will not tell you this again.

How are you at taking constructive criticism? Mature, thoughtful, objective? Me neither—at least not at first. I am what could be facetiously called a fragile flower. I felt almost crushed by this advice; like I had disappointed a favorite uncle. I’m only two weeks into this weight-loss program, and I constantly question myself and the nutritional wisdom I’m bombarded with every five seconds. I’m hungry more than I’m comfortable with. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel multiple times. And now I felt like I was being told by someone I respect that I wasn’t doing enough. In other words, I focused right in on the “or you will not pull this weight loss thing off” part without soaking in the sound advice surrounding it. I fear this is a habit of mine. Tunnel vision for the negative.

Luckily, I decided to stop being such a baby about it. When I got beyond my bruised ego, I realized that I pretty much agree with everything Dr. J is saying in his comment. I just felt irritated and disappointed in myself that I can’t seem to get to that place of nutritional wholeness instantly. I’m slow and can still be side-tracked by frozen treats. But here I have an actual doctor giving me personal advice, and I am not going to ignore it! Not to mention the fact that I—the turtle!—totally read into the comment that I had to make these changes in the blink of an eye, rather than gradually. I have a habit of transforming everything into black/white, all/nothing propositions.

It just goes to show that our lives are shaped much more by our take on things than by actual events themselves. Our perceptions have so much power. If I can train my thoughts to perceive that I should use the good china regularly, pretty soon those paper plates will look much less attractive. If I can be kind but firm with myself, I stand a much greater chance of success.

Weigh-in: Anchors Away

ist2_4762716-anchor-iconMy weigh-in last night showed a 3.6-lb loss for the past week, putting me just under the 200-lb mark again! So I guess I’m doing something right.

The meeting was meh. My regular meeting schedule will be the Sunday afternoon meeting, and I’m glad. The leader last night kept asking questions and then staring expectantly at the group, and during the awkward pauses I could hear “Bueller? Bueller?” echoing in my head. And then inevitably the same two women would bray their opinions. A couple of times a few other hesitant souls would venture a guess to the leader’s Socratic-style questions and I swear to God that on at least one of these occasions, they were made to feel as if their answer were somehow wrong. Oh, please! This is a Weight Watchers meeting, not law school!

The topic of the meeting: Anchors for the holiday season. Touchstones to keep you grounded and focused despite the madness swirling all around in the form of consumerism, family which you may or may not be pleased to see, and baked goods. One of the women who was basically shot down mentioned that the anchor could be something like a piece of clothing you want to fit into, but when the leader gave her a vaguely disapproving hawklike stare, she mumbled, “Maybe it’s a little materialistic.”

Well, we can’t all be Joan of Arc after all, and I’m totally planning to go the materialistic anchor route! I’m currently in the market for a little bracelet or something to wear every day that I can touch or look down at to re-center myself and recommit to my plan. How about you? Do you have an anchor that reminds you of your goals and helps to keep you resolved even when things get mental in your life?

My First Week on Weight Watchers

I’ll be heading to my first weigh-in straight from work this evening, and right now I can honestly say I’m strangely relaxed about it. In previous Weight Watching incarnations, I was fraught with tension pre-weigh-in because I felt that if I hadn’t lost a certain amount of weight that week, it meant the whole effort was pointless.

I have followed the Points system quite well this first week; my main problem was not always getting in the 5 daily fruits and vegetables that are part of the WW healthy guidelines. This week I will do a little better in that area. I haven’t really created a regular exercise schedule yet, and that’s also on tap for this week. Exercise tends to make a lot of difference in my weight-loss progress. I don’t want to overdo it, but I would like to get out there and walk 5 days a week. Who’s with me?

Ever since I decided it was okay if the weight came off slowly, I’ve been feeling a lot better about life in general and getting in shape in particular. Once I decided to focus on two goals for the coming year (improving my mental health and getting out of the obese category), I felt quite a bit of tension subside. If you are stressing out right now about life and can postpone a few of your goals in order to focus on the one or two most important ones and devote a full year to these, I highly recommend it.

Did anyone else watch Ruby last night? What did you think? I will definitely be tuning in for the next episode. My boyfriend and I watched it together and both agreed that a lot of interesting and important points came up in the show. And as one person on the Ruby message boards commented, “it’s a REAL reality show,” if you know what I mean. No host, no zany challenges, just a very large woman facing her beast.

Weigh-in 1: Wheezing into the Glorious Future

Despite the nasty cold I’ve been stuck at home with all weekend, I couldn’t break the promise I made Friday about returning to Weight Watchers today. I weighed in, was dismayed but fairly unsurprised by the 202.8 lbs the scale registered (having already been psychologically braced by an informal at-home weigh-in last week), and sat in the back of the room, violently sucking on a cough drop so that no one would suspect the truth: I have the Plague.

I even stayed and sat through the Newcomers introduction to Weight Watchers at the end of the meeting, despite the fact that I could practically give that spiel myself at this point. But I want to make a full, concerted effort and I wanted to dot my i’s, so to speak. Thus I found myself watching a demonstration of how to use a Points slider for approximately the 200th time in my life but still managed to restrain myself from clucking impatiently.

Sadly, next Sunday is evidently the annual Top Secret Weight Watchers powwow, at which grand revelations regarding 2009 plan changes will be dramatically revealed. I imagine that all participants will be blind-folded before they are taken to the secret location, and there may be ritualized blood-letting and pinkie-finger-swearing oaths of honor taking place before the day is done. What this means for me is no meeting next Sunday because all the leaders will have been beamed up to the corporate pod . . . so I’ll be weighing in that Monday instead.

Here’s a before picture for you, taken earlier today. You can’t even tell I’m on my deathbed and about to cough up a lung! Can you?

202.8 lbs

1st WW weigh-in day: 202.8 lbs